Graduation assignment: Rationale

There is a shift going on in how advertising reaches consumers. Consumers are becoming more selective and gaining more control over what messages they receive. The evolving technology and constant availability of Internet access have been the key factors in this change. Internet access is now not only available on your computer, but all the time via your Smartphone. Smartphones and mobile Internet, in combination with social media like Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, have changed consumer behavior in recent years as nicely explained in this video by Scholz & Friends. Consumers now starting to look at their (smart)phones as devices with a variety of different functions. Making phone calls is just one of them. As the Smartphone market matures it is set to become the most used computer platform in the world(Morgan Stanley), therefore it is quickly becoming a fixed requirement for a brand or company to be present on these mobile devices. The main problem at this moment is that there is no clear understanding of what the market expects from such branded apps.

The key benefit of these mobile devices is that they are always available to consumers and they can easily cut across multiple touch points (Checkoway). Furthermore the users of these devices are in more control of what messages they receive, therefore the old way of marketing and advertising has started to become less and less effective (Merman Scott), together with the change to a more experience driven economy (Pine & Gilmore). These changes have led to the emergence of branded apps that are useful or entertaining to the consumer, in other words it is adding value to the consumers‘ lives via applications. This paper will examine the strategy concerning branded apps and how it can lead to more successful brand perception.

On this website the term “branded app” is not applied to apps from software companies like Skype, AGV or Google. In these software companies it is part of their core strategy to make this kind of software. Therefore it is not a big leap into new territory for these companies, as it is for other, non-software, brands.  For the purposes of this web version of my paper, I focus specifically on branded apps for mobile media platforms like Tablets and Smartphones. Examples of these can be found here. As discussed later in this paper, this market is rapidly gaining importance in the way we communicate. Apps are part of this mobile ‘Internet‘ environment and there are tremendous opportunities for brands to be active here and create enhanced brand experiences. These apps can be free of charge or actual content that needs to be paid for.

Branded apps are, in this paper, seen as a new addition to brands communication strategies that will create more brand value by enhancing the brand experience. The Smartphone market and the market for other app available devices are expected to grow exponentially over the following years and become the leading platform of communication. Therefore brands need to think about a proper strategy on these platforms. This research is therefore concerning: How apps strategies could lead to an enhanced brand experience.

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